The absence of a Marine sentry outside the West Wing on Monday raised questions about whether President Biden was keeping the schedule publicly outlined by his aides.
Why it matters: A sure way to tell if the president is inside the Oval Office is if the spit-shined Marine is at the post, opening the door to the West Wing. A pool reporter questioning whether there had been a change in policy received a simpler, circa-2021 response: the Marine was getting a COVID test.
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"The president was in the Oval Office this morning working, receiving the PDB and all the things that you're aware of from the schedule. There hasn't been a change of policy," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the daily briefing.
The backstory: Biden's schedule said he would be in the Oval receiving the Presidential Daily Briefing at 9: 45 a.m. The sentry was absent at that time.
Pooler Debra Saunders, White House correspondent for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, told her off-campus colleagues at 9:58 a.m.: "There is no Marine standing outside the front door. ... Apparently, the Marine no longer is an indicator that POTUS is in the Oval."
Psaki and other aides later clarified.
Bottom line: The White House says it's a "misnomer" a Marine must be present when the president is inside the Oval.
The sentries may leave their post for a variety of reasons, including an event elsewhere on White House grounds or to support other world leaders or VIP guests.
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